Take five nerdy boys from New Jersey, some warm, hazy guitar, a few laid-back, lo-fi 4/4 beats and some sympathetic words spawned from youthful summers in the American sun, and you pretty much have Real Estate.
And what’s not to love? As they roll in to ‘All The Same’ for an opener tonight, it’s almost impossible not to feel an unaffected fondness and nostalgia for the sun-drenched sound. “It’s alright, it’s OK/ because the night is just another day” Martin Countney assures us, before the song flows effortlessly along into minutes of an instrumental jam, and we believe him.
The nature inspired lyrics of ‘Green Aisles’ risked feeing out of place in the unappealing gloom of the Scala, but the band’s unassuming, tempered aura elecits a relaxed enjoyment through the crowd, and makse listening to such chilled out sounds utterly natural.
There’s little interaction between band members or with the audience but nonetheless the band look comfortable on stage, flowing through ‘Municipality’, before they flex their more jangley muscles for ‘Wonder Years’. The majority of most recent album Days is covered, alongside a smattering of tracks from their two previous LPs, while the audience sway in a kind of subdued recognition of the band’s comforting warmth.
The tracks are all undeniably well executed and – to be fair – it would be out of place for the makers of such distinguishably loose-weave guitar pop to give us a much more in the way of atmospheric excitement, but the mellow feeling of the room certainly leaves space for more of a performance, which never appears.
Regardless, having finished up on the relatively upbeat ‘It’s Real’, the band are called back to the stage, their young faces grinning as the crowd attempt a vaguely ridiculous rendition of the chorus the song they’ve just heard. Failing to be spurred on by the conduction of drummer Jackson Pollis, on his reappearance, the sing-song is quickly and abashedly given up, ready for the band to graciously strum through a two song encore, before finally disappearing.
The stage empty, there’s certainly less of a buzz than is often felt at the end of a show, but the fashionable crowd seem pretty satisfied, and there’s little doubt that the warm fuzzy feeling in which Real Estate essentially deal, will be keeping us warm as we venture out into the cold London night.